Written by: Georgia Godfrey
Therapy techniques that focus on family dynamics and structure can successfully be
applied by organizations to increase employee satisfaction and alter employee attitudes,
a team of Texas Tech University researchers has found.
Texas Tech Marriage and Family Therapy faculty, working with colleagues from the Texas
Tech University Health Sciences Center, identified methods of family systems-based
therapy that can be used throughout organizational intervention programs.
Researchers focused on family-based theories of the whole being greater than the sum
of its parts, status quo and interactive feedback as effective methods in treating
organizational problems. The findings were published earlier this year in the Journal
of Marital and Family Therapy.
"This new research based on family systems methods opens a new window of opportunity
in organizational intervention," said Linda Hoover, dean of the College of Human Sciences
at Texas Tech. "Therapists participating in organizational intervention programs can
use these new methods to help increase professional environments and productivity."
These intervention methods view the family as a whole unit and evaluate problems based
on organizational structure, boundary ambiguity, unclear rules, hierarchy and the
exercise of power – all of which also occur throughout professional organizations.
The group hypothesized that the difficult problems existing within organizations were
caused not only by individuals but also by relational and systemic processes.
Data was collected while the group worked with the Texas Tech Employee Assistance
Program (EAP). The team found these methods as an effective way of increasing employee
satisfaction and altering employee attitudes. The most impact occurred when not just
the individual was considered but also the individual’s relationships to others.
Organizational intervention is one of the many services that has historically been
provided by the Texas Tech Employee Assistance Program to administrators on the university
campus and to other business and governmental entities in the community. The model
that resulted from these studies provides both the general guidelines and specific
interventions for ongoing organizational consultations, both within the Lubbock community
and across the country.
The team included Sterling T. Shumway, Thomas G. Kimball, Alan W. Korinek and Rudy
The Marriage and Family Therapy Program provides clinical and academic training grounded
in systems theory to students who will function as marriage and family therapists
at the highest level of clinical competence. As part of the College of Human Sciences,
this program contributes to the field of marriage and family therapy through research,
teaching and other activities as well as helping clients.
CONTACT: Georgia Godfrey, coordinator for college development and external relations,
College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3263, or email@example.com.